Government Spending

No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.

<p>No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.</p>

Remember this number: $4 billion. That's the current spending gap in Arizona's budget.
 
The state was $500 million in arrears for fiscal 2009. With Governor Brewer's vetoes and revenues continuing to plummet, the current 2010 fiscal year is estimated to be $1 billion in deficit. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates the state will be $2.5 billion in the red for fiscal 2011, which the legislature will budget for this spring.

Some 30 states have massive budget deficits, but let's examine two that are consequential to Arizonans: ours and California's.  How policymakers navigate deficits that equal roughly a quarter of their budgets will influence the trajectories of their economic recoveries.  The early results don't portend positive trajectories.

Nine hundred and twenty dollars per second. That's how fast Arizona's state government spends our tax money. Following the recent update of the Goldwater Institute's spending clock, people asked how we arrived at that particular number. Allow me to explain.

State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema recently rebuked U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl in the pages of the East Valley Tribune for recommending that "stimulus" funding be terminated. The federal government, by spending $308 million on infrastructure in Arizona, is providing a "much needed economic boost" to the state, she claimed.

Timed perfectly for Halloween, Governor Brewer asked state agencies for proposals to reduce spending 15 percent in order to close the state's $2 billion budget deficit. The results have been predictably spooky scenarios painted by each agency.

You've undoubtedly heard of the "Happy Canadian." Maybe you know one. These are the Canadian ex-pats who tell us how wonderful the Canadian health care system really is. They were invariably treated without delay, had access to all the finest medical technology and, best of all, it was free.

Arizona policymakers need to accept the reality that there’s no way to avoid government downsizing. The state is now second to only California in the severity of its fiscal crisis and faces over $5 billion in additional budget deficits through 2011. Yet, our officials remain distracted by Sacramento-style accounting gimmicks and a proposed sales tax hike that wouldn’t come close to closing the gap. Worse, many policymakers seem more concerned with preserving agency largesse than trying to eliminate it.

Twenty years ago a biologist showed me a graph from a peer-reviewed scientific journal that showed an alarming increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Then I noticed the graph’s scale was logarithmic and made even small increases look exaggerated. I’ve been skeptical of the science behind global warming ever since.

The economy is struggling, the unemployment rate is high, and many Americans are struggling to pay the bills. But one class of Americans is doing quite well: government workers. Their pay levels are soaring, they enjoy unmatched benefits, and they remain largely immune from layoffs, except for some overly publicized cutbacks around the margins.

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